City council is considering a moratorium on the opening of additional massage parlours in Edmonton.

The debate was prompted by a steep increase in the businesses — which has more than doubled in the last few years.

Kate Quinn with the Sexual Exploitation Working Group called the proposed move an historic event for Edmonton.

"What we've seen today is the city, in its fullness, say 'We’re going to look at every strategy that we need to deal with the realities of the sex industry, the exploitation and trafficking,'" Quinn said.

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Kate Quinn with the Sexual Exploitation Working Group said she was "overwhelmed with hope" after hearing council's proposal. (CBC)

"I think this is such an incredible day in our Edmonton history. I'm really overwhelmed with hope."

The proposal will be voted on by city council next week.

Proposed bylaw rejected

On Monday morning, city planners rejected a series of proposed changes to bylaws regulating the city's body-rub centres.

The suggested changes, proposed following a public hearing in March, would have banned body rub centres places where children might gather, such as youth drop-in centres.

It also suggested the mandatory minimum distance between centres be increased and that parlours be prohibited from operating out of the top floor of two-storey buildings.

But city planners rejected the changes, arguing they would encourage new body-rub facilities to set up shop in industrial areas, compromising the safety of parlour workers, or to operate illegally in residential areas where the facilities would be virtually impossible to monitor.